Roy Thomson Hall


View of Roy Thomson Hall from Metro Hall Square park


Roy Thomson Hall is a concert hall designed by architect, Arthur Erickson, who envisaged the shimmering, upside-down cupcake-like canopy. The idea of a concert hall was conceived by Edward Pickering, chair of the Massey Hall Board at the time, who asked Erickson to design the hall at the intersection of King Street West and Simcoe Street in downtown Toronto. Construction began in 1978 with the hall opening on September the 13th 1982. The concert hall is home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (Wardrop “Roy Thomson Hall”). Currently, Roy Thomson Hall hosts concerts for musicians from all over the world. The annual Toronto International Film Festival is also hosted at the hall allowing famous Hollywood celebrities to watch their film productions inside the auditorium.


On the upper lobby level. The structure of the canopy can be seen.


The structure of Roy Thomson Hall is composed of a canopy, which sits on a concrete square base. The canopy begins from a circular concrete roof and revolves outward onto the base. The canopy is made from many individual triangular glass pieces that are fitted into glazing bars. This revolving curtain wall is welded and bolted to diagonal steel members (“Award of Excellence” 18). The base is a concrete roof slab that overhangs concrete external walls and thick concrete recessed columns. The façade of the walls are surrounded by double glass doors and a series of square and rectangular glass windows (usually spaced with mullions).  Inside, the lobbies and thick concrete piers encircle the centralized auditorium. Thick concrete slabs cantilevering above create the upper lobby floors that allow you to reach the upper levels of the auditorium. Entering the auditorium is breathtaking. The auditorium is covered in a beige colour scheme and wood flooring that emanates an intimate, yet spacious atmosphere. The seating that wraps around the stage is placed onto three levels: the ground floor, mezzanine and balcony level.


The concert hall


In March 2002, the auditorium underwent an interior acoustic renovation. Two new acoustic canopies and 23 massive wooden bulkheads were installed, reducing the volume of the hall for better acoustics. The original gray carpeting was ripped out and maple wood flooring was installed to bring warmth to the atmosphere and to enhance the acoustics (Everett-Green “Wood to warm up to Thomson Hall”). Cutts, current president of The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, believes that the renovation cements Roy Thomson Hall’s status as a continuing musical establishment in the cultural community (Cutts 8).


“Award of Excellence.” Canadian Architect 22.12 (1977): 18-22. Print.

Cutts, S. Charles. “Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall: A Metamorphosis.” International Journal of Arts Management 6.1 (2003): 4-8. Print.

Everett-Green. Robert.  “Wood to warm up Thomson Hall.” The Globe and Mail A.24 17 Nov. 2000.  Retrieved October 16, 2010, from Canadian Newsstand Core. (Document ID: 1051578781).

Wardrop, Patricia. “Roy Thomson Hall.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation, 2009. Web. 16 Oct. 2010.  <;.

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